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In Sindh, schools confused about ‘new scheme of studies

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In Sindh, schools confused about ‘new scheme of studies
« on: July 05, 2020, 12:21:39 PM »
In Sindh, schools confused about ‘new scheme of studies’
KARACHI:05 July: After the disruption of the academic session due of the spread of Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown in the province, Sindh’s School Education and Literacy Department is facing immense challenges in implementing the proposed ‘new scheme of studies’ for Class 9 and 10.
Per court orders issued earlier in this regard, Class 9 and 10 students from all public and private schools across Sindh must undertake their annual exams following the new scheme of studies.

Under the scheme, science subjects earlier taught by dividing them are now to be taught in both Class 9 and 10, while the total marks for matriculation are to be increased from 850 to 1,100. Despite a clear notification regarding the implementation of the new rule, however, no practical measures have been taken so far.

The Sindh Textbook Board (STBB), which is administered under the School Education and Literacy Department, has also failed to print and distribute textbooks under the new scheme of studies in a timely fashion, while the process of distributing free textbooks to government schools has not even started.

In a recent letter written to school directors, STBB secretary Hafeezullah Mahar sought details of the existing stock of textbooks for these classes in the district warehouses - a move which has further complicated the matter. The letter further stated that old textbooks can still be used in this academic session, adding that per the orders of the Sindh High Court, the textbooks will be changed in the next academic year.

Due to the unclear status of the scheme of studies, some private schools have started conducting online classes at the matriculation level under the new scheme, while others are conducting online classes under the old scheme.

The Express Tribune tried to contact Mahar several times but he did not respond. Meanwhile, the board’s technical director, Yousuf Sheikh, claimed that the new scheme of studies for Class 9 would be implemented this year and books would be printed as soon as possible. When questioned about Mahar’s letter to school directors, he maintained was unaware of any such decisions.

According to All Sindh Private Schools and Colleges Association chief Haider Ali, books under the new scheme are not available in the market, and teachers were therefore compelled to give biology and chemistry lessons to Class 9 students per the old school scheme. Meanwhile, the lessons for physics and mathematics as proposed under the new scheme are not being taught as of now.

“We are not implementing the new scheme as the situation is not clear. We have asked the education board whether the exams will be taken under the new scheme or the old one but the board could not furnish a straightforward answer,” said Ali.

On the other hand, All Private Schools Association’s chairperson Tariq Shah said that schools have been imparting lessons to Class 9 students in accordance with the new scheme of studies.

“Even though books under the new scheme are not available in the market, schools have started implementing the department’s order and teachers are imparting lessons for the related subjects online,” Shah explained.

Despite the confusion, the School Education and Literacy Department has remained silent. The department’s secretary, Khalid Haider Shah, is on annual leave, while STBB chairperson Ahmed Bakhsh Narejo has assumed additional charge as the secretary.

When The Express Tribune contacted the head of the curriculum wing, Dr Fauzia, for comment on the matter, she said the curriculum wing had done its part as per the court order by preparing the new scheme of studies. “We have done our job. Now it is up to the Sindh Textbook Board to take further action.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 5th, 2020.
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